Carmelo Anthony quotes after Game 2
Thursday night in Los Angeles the Denver Nuggets beat the Lakers 106-103 to win Game 2 in their 2009 NBA playoffs Western Conference Finals matchup. The series is now tied at one game piece. Nuggets small forward Carmelo Anthony had 34 points and 9 rebounds in the victory. Here's what he had to say after the game:
Question: Carmelo, you scored 34 points tonight. You must be feeling pretty good after scoring, what, 39 last night. Can you give us your assessment of your offense production?
Carmelo Anthony: You're in the mode, you're in the zone. Making shots. I tell everybody, man, scoring is something that I always can do. That's what got me to where I'm at right now.
My main focus is not to score 34 or 39 points. That's not my focus.
Question: When did you hurt your ankle? How bad is it? And, also, what were you trying to do when you were singled up on Kobe a lot in the fourth?
Anthony: I'll just answer the Kobe question first. Just trying to make it tough for him. Deny him. Put a big body on him. Put a hand in his face. He did hit a couple tough 3s contested 3s, you can't do nothing about that. Great players are going to make great shots.
As far as my ankle goes, I'll be okay for Game 3.
Question: Does it bother you?
Anthony: It was out on the court. Not as much right now, no.
Question: You bounced back from the Game 1 disappointment. You guys come back from a big deficit tonight. Can you just talk about how much more mentally tough this Nuggets team is than the one that played the Lakers in the post-season last year?
Anthony: I think this team last year, the lead probably would have went from 10 to 20. I'll be sitting here talking to you about a loss last year, where this year our team is so much mentally tougher than we was last year.
We came a long way. We've been through some battles throughout the season, throughout the playoffs, and for us to fight back from that Game 1 that we gave away, that just goes to say a lot about our team.
Question: In Team USA you talked about how you wanted to improve your rebounding. Obviously big Game 1 with the Lakers having some success on the boards, now you had nine rebounds and five were on the offensive end. How do you (indiscernible) a year ago or two years ago when you came into the league?
Anthony: As far as rebounding, man, the Lakers are big on their frontcourt, Gasol and Odom and Bynum. So it's kind of tough. You gotta try to put a body on them.
As far as me, it's just effort, going in there, battling with them guys, coming out with the rebound, when they match up Kobe on me, try to take them down. That gives them easy baskets rather than playing with the ball up top. Trying to get some offensive rebounds. And it's just about effort, though.
Question: Melo, Kobe calls you the bear, but you were wrestling with Kobe tonight... it just seemed tonight you rose defensively another level.
Anthony: I challenged myself to guard the best guys, whoever I'm playing against. A guy like Kobe, man, is a tough match for anybody. He's a great player. He's a great scorer. Can put the ball in the basket at any given time... I'm telling myself just make it tough for him. I always keep a hand in his face; try to body. I know I'm bigger than him. Try to keep a big body on him. If he makes a tough shot with my hand in his face, I can live with that.
Question: How much are you and Kobe feeding off each other? So far in these first two games it's been kind of a dogfight. And the second part of that question is when you're in the middle of a series like this and a great head-to-head battle, do you realize it in that moment, do you realize 10 years from now?
Anthony: No, I'm not thinking about that. I'm thinking about that game or that play that's about to happen. If I can deny him and get the ball out of his hands, then I feel like I did my job. If he catch it and make a great shot, I can live with that. As long as I have my hand in his face and it's a tough shot, I can live with that too.
When I'm on the court I'm not thinking 10 years from now people are going to think about this matchup. I'm thinking the moment.
Question: How much do you guys feed off each other?
Anthony: Going up against a great player, a great team, that's going to always motivate you to go out there and be your best. Yes, Kobe, I'm going up against Kobe in a head-to-head matchup, but it's the Nuggets against the Lakers. They're supposed to be the best. We think we're the best, we want to be the best in this league.
So it's going to always be a battle out there.
Question: Kobe said you kind of stole his pull-up jumper from your time during the summer. That jab series that he used to get that 3 off the tide at '99, that's your jab series, right? Did he steal it from you?
Anthony: We steal a lot of stuff from each other. I wouldn't call it stealing. That's something that me and him after practice, in the summertime, worked on. One drill pull-ups, two drill pull-ups, I'm pretty sure he stole my jab step move, too. We kind of work with each other and kind of take each other's moves.
Question: You almost got Game 1, very close Game 2. Going back to Denver, how do you think that home court advantage will help your team?
Anthony: Well, we're excited. We can't wait to get back on our court. We've been to L.A. a little bit too long now. We want to get back home and in front of our crowd. We know they'll be excited for us to come back and play in front of them, especially winning a game here on the road. That crowd is going to be exciting on Saturday.
Question: Obviously a big turning point in the game was that big run you guys made at the end of the second to tie it up. Just before that, you made I think four jumpers in a row to give your team a little run when the energy looked a little low, the crowd was loud, looked like you guys were on the ropes. Did you feel in that moment that you needed to give your team a little boost?
Anthony: Yeah, I think coming down at the beginning of the game, we was trying too hard. We wasn't even playing the way we know how to play. We haven't played like that the whole playoffs.
George took me out in that first quarter and gave me a chance to sit back and see what was going on out there and compose myself. And coming back into the game in the second quarter, I just wanted to take advantage, just try to get some momentum going, I started making some shots.
And that big run we made in the second quarter, you know, it was crucial in our winning.